Torrone: Tastes and Traditions

Torrone is an Italian nutty nougat candy, often combined with almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts or even fruit, and local Italian honey.  

If you are remembering the nougat candy your grandpa used to give you that struck you with fear of an imminent dental disaster at the first bite, forget all you know about nougat.  Mia Emilia’s Torrone has none of that gooey, tooth-breaking stickiness.  

This Torrone is made in Italy, from the best quality nuts, honey, and farm-fresh eggs, and from traditions possibly dating back to the Roman times.

While it is thought that the word comes from the Latin for “to toast”, it is no surprise that in Italy, they have a different version of the origins. 

In 1441 the daughter of the current Duchy of Milan, Bianca Maria Visconti married Francesco Sforza in Cremona, a smaller town in the region of Lombardy.  During their wedding, a special treat was served to the guests, Torrone. 

Cremona is the site of a beautiful bell tower called Torrazzo, and it was thought that the Torrone served at their wedding was meant to resemble it, therefore forever memorializing the event in the name of this special dessert. 

If you have ever been to Milan or studied Renaissance history, the name Sforza probably rings a bell.  Bianca Maria Visconti was the last heir of the Visconti family, so her wedding to Francesco Sforza established the Sforza family as the new leaders of Milan. 

Gorgeous Castello Sforzesco in Milan’s historic city center is without a doubt one of the city’s highlights.  Famous in the Renaissance times for the powerful family who lived there, it also played host to Leonardo Da Vinci under the patronage of Ludovico Sforza.  Can you imagine a world without his Last Supper?  It was commissioned by this very family, who we also have to thank for Torrone as we know it!

Cremona still plays host to the Torrone festival, where many versions of the delicious nougat are sold and where a reenactment of the Visconti-Sforza wedding take place to celebrate its heritage.

Today, Torrone has been embraced all over Italy, and individual makers take pride in putting together all the best nuts, honey, and eggs of their land to create a treat everyone will love.

The makers of Mia Emilia’s Torrone, available in different flavors and varieties, all spectacular, come from the region of Campania in the South of Italy. 

Campania, famous for its lemons along the Amalfi Coast, is also home to some of the world’s best hazelnuts.  No wonder that the Di Iorio family has so successfully created the most delicious Torrone from local ingredients. 

The family tells us that their dedication to the “Vecchia Maniera”, Old Method, makes their artisanal products special.  Recipes have been handed down through the centuries. 

Ingredients in the Torrone are made up of at least 50% nuts (most use almonds and/or hazelnuts, a few include pistachios).  Local honey gives a natural sweetness that combines beautifully with the flavor of the almonds.  They cook the ingredients for 16 hours, and all of the work is done by hand. 

Some varieties are dipped in dark chocolate, others combine the citrusy flavors of the coast, while the classic version focuses on the flavors of almonds and honey. 

The day our first box from Mia Emilia arrived, I gave my husband a little piece of the Torrone Tenero Ricoperto al Cioccolato.  He was silent for a second.  Then he said, “That is the best piece of chocolate I have ever had.”  And trust me, the man loves his chocolate!  I couldn’t disagree.

When I wrote to the family to tell them that, they replied, “Just wait until you try the Monachino!”  So, that was the next night.  “Soft Nougat with Hazelnut Filling”.  Ok, I’m sold!  A collective, “Wow!” and from then on, we have both been believers in Mia Emilia and all of their products. 

It’s one thing to say something is good but quite another when a product leaves you speechless.  I cannot even say the Torrone reminds me of anything else.  It is unique in the best way. 

At the first taste, the toasted almond flavor and crunch is so rich, but still natural.  Honey allows the nougat to melt in your mouth rather than stick to your teeth.  It tastes like something that could only be handmade.  And it is.  Torrone is a treat like no other.

Since the time of the Visconti-Sforza wedding, Torrone has been widely embraced and loved in Italy.  After the wedding, it became a popular gift to give at Christmas time, and it still is today.  Its warm, toasty flavors suit the season perfectly.

Torrone is too tasty to save for only one season though, it is now a welcome gift any time of the year.  Perfect for loved ones, perfect for friends, or a perfect treat to give yourself!

If you enjoy the tastes almonds and chocolate, and the lovely feel of knowing exactly where your food comes from, browse the selection of flavors and treat yourself to something truly special.